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Interesting Facts on Writing a Cookbook

By October 14, 2015 March 31st, 2019 cookbook

Interesting Facts on Writing a Cookbook

I first want to start off by saying I adore my job. I really do. But it is often stressful since I do not have a salary, nor insurance provided for me by an employer. If I don’t work hard, I do not make any money for my family that day. I often feel a lot of pressure, but in the end the joy I find in my work keeps me plugging away… even at 5am on Sunday mornings which is the time I usually write posts like this…”interesting facts on writing a cookbook”.

I adore working with clients and helping them heal but there is nothing more therapeutic than jumping into my comfy clothes and playing in the kitchen with the radio on. My husband, Craig often jokes that my inspiration always seems to happen after the kitchen has been cleaned and is spotless. 🙂

I love being able to give free health information and recipes but like I said earlier this is our family’s income. I totally understand being frugal and renting books from the library instead of purchasing them… there was a time when we just adopted our boys and Craig lost his job. Our library was our entertainment at that time. But I want you to understand why it is important to support authors when you can.

Interesting Facts on Writing a Cookbook

Some interesting facts that I never realized when I would pick up a cookbook at the bookstore:

1. Authors spend exorbitant amounts of money on cookbooks vs other books.

I wrote 3 books that were not cookbooks: Keto Adapted, Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism and Secrets to Controlling Your Weight, Cravings and Mood. Those were cheap to make yet they are the ones that typically make the most money. I just needed a computer and could write away. All I needed was time. The only color photo is the cover, so no extra cost goes into the book.

On the other hand writing a cookbook is expensive and the book itself costs a lot to print! Everyone loves to eat with their eyes so the book printing is expensive. Color pages are super expensive compared to a page with just black and white printing but I find it is totally worth it!

Cookbook Costs

Camera and lens: Cameras with fancy lens for food photos are outrageous and I think I had my new favorite lens for a week when my baby boy tripped over my camera stand and crashed the lens into bits. Lesson learned!

Food: I’m sure you are thinking, but you get to eat all the yummy food! No, not really. I spent $50 on the most beautiful rib-eye steak and accoutrements and by the time I was done photographing it (which I do outside even in the middle of winter since the lighting is so much better outside) the food is stone-cold. Even the herbs are frozen stiff. Not to mention my publisher did not like the first round of the Rib-eye photos so I had to drive back to the store and purchase another round of groceries for the same photo. You get the idea. So food is reheated but some things like steaks that doesn’t work the best.  Also, when in the crush of a deadline I might make 5 recipes in one day for photographs.  Doing this day after day the fridge fills up with leftovers (we donate extras to friends).

Props: I also have to buy all my own props, tables, spoons, plates, bowls, napkins, and any other prop to make the photos looks cute. Nobody wants to see the same background throughout a cookbook.

In The Ketogenic Cookbook I took all my photos on a very “distracting table”… my publisher’s words. Wish I would have known that before taking all these photos!  I had to re-shoot the majority of the photos in that book a second (and sometimes a third) time.

Yep, I bought a new table and took all new photos! It took me 3 months to redo everything. But I feel it was a great lesson. I am not an artist so listening to the publisher’s photographer on how to take a proper food photo helped me immensely.

Interesting Facts on Writing a Cookbook

2. Washing and Cleaning

We have 2 dishwashers… and they are always running. Yes, I am blessed for having dishwashers, in our first apartment we did everything by hand which took a crazy amount of time! I’ve managed to break many new dishwashers! When I am under a deadline we often have both dishwashers running twice a day.  Four loads.  Those dishes then need to be put away and then cycle starts all over.

Not to mention heating the house up with the oven on during 90 degree days.

3. Time Shopping for Groceries

Driving to the store and back also takes a ton of time, especially when I run to Trader Joe’s which is a 30-minute drive away. Then something goes wrong in a photo like I said above and it’s back to the store.

4. Recipes that Flop!Interesting Facts on Writing a Cookbook

THIS bread recipe took me over a year to perfect and about 25 pounds of almond flour… you do the math… that is a lot of time, money as well as dish washing! The first time I made it, the loaf came out perfect but guess what? I forgot to write down an ingredient and it never came out the same until Craig and I practiced this day after day, loaf after loaf. Recipes don’t come out perfect the first time, patience, love and time goes into all of my recipes.

The reason I wrote this is not to complain, but to help you understand all the love, time, effort, money and resources that goes into authoring cookbooks. I always adored cookbooks but until I wrote my own I never realized just how much work goes into creating them.

I know that hardcover cookbooks may be genre that is dying off with the huge world of food blogging and all the free recipes on the internet but when you see a beautiful cookbook on the bookshelves don’t be hesitant to support that writer, so much love and care went into that $26 book.

Thank you all for your love and support! I truly mean that. I started this blog when Craig lost his job and I needed a reason to wake up and get out of my depression. Cooking and writing did that for me.

Without all of you, I wouldn’t be able to have such a great job! 🙂

Maria Emmerich

About Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 15 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of "Keto.". Click here for Keto. http://amzn.to/2EfrECi Click here for our new Keto Courses: http://keto-adapted.com/school/

75 Comments

  • Amanda Goldstein says:

    Just for this, I think I will go ahead and buy my 5th Maria cookbook (desserts). You write books and cookbooks that don’t sit on shelves and collect dust. You change lives with your efforts! Thank you, Craig and the boys! I’m spreading the word about your magic all the time!

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      You are sooooooo sweet!

      Fyi this is where you can ask questions about almond flour;)

    • krickt says:

      I agree with you whole heartedly. I’ve bought most of the books on Kindle or directly from Maria in electronic form, but a friend, (HI LEANN!) gave me the desserts book hard copy for Christmas last year. We got that thing sloppy messy on every single page, trying to decide what recipes would make my SAD addicted family jealous and want to sneak bites from. My daughter likes Maria’s Cheesecake recipe better than a traditional one, and she makes two, one for me and one to take and share!
      Excellent choice!
      Kati

  • Teresa says:

    Good Morning!
    Thank you for doing it for us! I must say that I like the convenience of e-readers, but there is just something about a physical book. Especially a cook book. They are pure magic. I have all of your books on my Tablet, but I will be buying the physical versions as well.

  • Appletree says:

    Dear Maria, I think I speak for most of your readers when I say we love you & Craig and the passion you both have for helping people. I get so much free information from your site and have also supported with the purchase of cookbooks, ebooks and plans. I hope you both continue to feel fulfilled with this job you have decided to take up, I know we readers feel so thankful and grateful for people like you two. Its such a position of privilege to be able to help people. Sending you both love and hugs!

  • Jackie says:

    Maria, I simply adore you for the love and compassion you display in your work. I can tell you are passionate about what you do. I did purchase the Kindle version of The Ketogenic Cookbook and intend to purchase the hard copy as well. I agree that the photos are what makes the food most appealing. May you have continued success with your books and you and your family will be blessed abundantly!

  • Rose 54 says:

    I have all your cookbooks. In book form. Love them all! Never realized how much work went into them. Whew! Thanx for all your hard work.

  • Great insight. I want to write a ooooo one day, so thank you for all this.

  • Patti says:

    I think everyone covered how we feel about Maria and Craig ….I am on that list.
    When I buy All of her books…..I like to sit in my chair and look at them and plan
    the next meal. My comment is this. before I bought the books even the e-books.
    I would sit at my computer and look for a recipe and then print out the recipe.
    My big comment is this…………buy the book…….do you know how much it cost
    to print out the recipes …take them in the kitchen to cook …….then when water hits
    it the ink smudges……then you have to go back and print out another one. So
    in the end it is cheaper to buy the hard copy of the book to use AND help Craig Maria
    and her boys ……….they help us.
    Patti

  • laksh says:

    hi maria, like so many of your subscribers, I, too have bought pretty much all of your eating plans and books. I do have a question: Will you be making more of The Art of Healthy Eating – Savory, Sweets and Kids (the 3 in 1) in Hardcover? I really want to get my hands on one of those 🙂

  • Mia McNamee says:

    Thank you so much for all the effort you put into your cookbooks! Like some others who have posted, I have almost all your books on my e-reader, but I bought the three book combo cookbook as a physical book and now I plan to buy the other physical books as well! So much easier to use in the kitchen rather than having to prop my pad up and fear it will end up in the mixer! hahahahahahahahahahaha! I’m a designer by trade and appreciate all the hard work that goes into each publication. Thank you so much – and thanks for the research, your simple and elegant way of explaining everything, your supplement advice, and your convenient e-store. You do make it as simple as possible for all of us to enter into the best health we’re willing to be in 🙂

    I’m always talking about you to friends and family and sharing your recipes – and giving your books away so they can read the research themselves! Thanks again – we all appreciate what you do and are grateful for the way that you’ve made a real difference in so many lives!

  • Mia McNamee says:

    oh – and on the photos – I find them invaluable as aa comparison. I know whether my end result flopped or not based on your photos! I would love to fly over and take a cooking class from you!

  • Jolena Foster says:

    Maria I am so thankful for you and what you and Craig do for us. I can’t begin to imagine what it takes to do cookbooks and the time it takes to do those things. But I really do thank you for the hard work y’all have put in to making them. I have shared many recipes and I have also shared the info that you pass to us and I share it with others. Keep doing what you do because I along with countless others appreciate what you do for us. God bless.

  • Diane says:

    Maria,
    Remember the story of the Velveteen Rabbit? He was so loved that all of his fur had been rubbed off. This is what my Ketogenic Cookbook looks like😍!! Splatters. Spills, greasy, coconut-oiled thumbprints on the page! And why? Because this cookbook is loved! I have the e-book for travel but the REAL cookbook is hardly ever put back on the shelf. Your hard work certainly paid off because EVERY recipe is wonderful. And easy and the food is superb. So thanks! Know it’s a taxing job ESPECIALLY with young ones but you and Craig are doing a marvelous job. So from all of us who so enjoy the fruits of your labor- THANKS!

  • Beth H says:

    I have to agree, there is nothing like holding a cookbook and tacking on post it notes to the pages of recipes I would like to try. I don’t care for ebooks even though I have a few on my kindle. So I really appreciate your efforts, time and expense hole heartedly. Thank You! 🙂

  • ErinK says:

    I always buy cookbooks from and support the websites I get recipes and information from. I just found your site a week or two ago, so I’ll be adding your cookbooks soon! Thank you so much for all you do!!

  • BB says:

    Hi Maria, I never write comments but after reading your letter here goes!

    Maria, I found your website in my search to try to find some answers to my sanity issues.
    My symptoms began two years ago. First it was dairy and then soy. I was progressively getting worse. I was suddenly becoming intolerant to food. Everything that I ate was making me sick. In addition, I was starting to get repeated UTI’s, or what I thought were UTI’s. My doctor diagnosed with I.C. I ate less and less and starting putting on weight. I went from 114 to 130 in 18 months. I went from being a gym rat, spinning a couple times a week, lifting and riding my bike, to being tired, body aches, cramps, bloody stools. When I finally was foggy brained, depressed and desperate I went back to the Dr. They thought I might have IBS or Colitis. My symptoms were now chronic diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, burping, gas bloating, headaches brain fog, exhaustion. All this on salads and chicken. I was sent to a gastro specialist. After numerous tests, making me eat bread again for test that turned negative for Celiac and Crohn’s. I had an EDG, endo and colonoscopy. They found H. Pylori and Eosinophilic Esophagitis. The Dr. prescribed antibiotics and something for my throat. Said I needed to see my Allergist. Maybe a Naturopath. Who, only listened made notes and after $774 gave me supplements that had milk and soy in them (which I told her I was intolerant). This gave my horrible diarrhea.
    I was not getting the right answers my doctors. I have bought all your e-books, read them numerous times. I have bought several of your cookbooks in paperback, just so I could put sticky notes on my favorite recipes. I read over and over the supplements and vitamins you recommended to fix your gut. Admittedly get rid of the H Pylori is much better. I wish I would have found your books first. I am not sure I am taking exactly the right amounts but I feel much better. The brain fog is gone. And I love eating this way!
    By following your diet, your supplements, I am down to 124 as of today, and I am healing. I would have rather given you the $774 dollars and enjoyed the delicious meals and treats in your books and not suffered through all of those appointments.
    People, I can’t tell you enough what a difference Maria has made in my life! Maria, I can’t thank you enough for getting up at 5:30 am to write your blog and your books! THANK YOU! I think you saved me!

  • You two are amazing. You’ve kept me and family healthy with your cookbooks for over 10 years. And your recipes have keep me from progressing down the slippery slope to diabetes because of the cooking options your books offer. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you! I’d love to be able to offer all your books in my office to patient, is there a way that?
    Sincerely,
    Your biggest fan!!!

  • Amanda Goldstein says:

    If you are in need of a blog post, I would love to know more about soaking and sprouting nuts. Do you do that every time you and the family eats nuts? If a granola recipe calls for different nuts you soak them all and then pat dry or roast? Making your brownies for the first time tonight!

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Yes. Soaking them and drying them would be helpful;)

      We don’t eat many nuts or nut flours. Only for birthdays and such.

  • Kim S says:

    Although I am just a novice cook and starting out on this journey of health I SO appreciate your cookbooks and the pictures that go with them. I always purchase the real book so that I can have post-its and bent ear pages and I can easily flip back and forth. Thank you so much for the insight on the process- guess I’m not the only one that may have to try a recipe a time or two! 🙂 I wish you continued success and joy and look forward to your new cookbook!

  • DonnaZ says:

    As the old proverb says, When the student is ready the teacher will appear. You and Craig have been such a blessing. I don’t even want to think what my health would be like without your info 😄 TY for this great quality of life. Also for every book you wrote…I have. I’m anxious for your newest one.

  • Cheryl Foster says:

    I think your book is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I have ever seen. It was on my desk this morning – making up some thousand Island dressing! Thanks for sharing the process. It is truly a work of art.

  • Carla TW says:

    Just finished reading the Amazon sample for the new book a few hours ago. I think this one is one I want to buy in paper. I usually like to get recipe books on my Kindle, so I can easily keep the recipe available. I think I want to keep this book in my operatory at work (I’m a Dental Hygienist) so my patients can flip through it. The beginning chapters are like a basic, simplfied version of Keto Adapted, that gets the quick points across.

  • Judy says:

    I have all your books at first I checked the library online and decided it would be nice to have them in my home. There is so much information in them to reread. I bought them one by one also have them electronically except the last cookbook. I look thru them on my i pad when i sit on my exercise bike. I will have your next cookbook when it comes out. I don’t eat perfectly but know I feel better when I eat healthy. Thanks for all that you do.

  • LeeAnn says:

    Maria, I have all your books, etc. LOVE THEM…. Quick question….I adore your Broccoli Carbonara recipe, and make it frequently. I have a spiralizer to produce the noodles, but it looks like the one in the picture above produces more of an ‘angel hair pasta’ as opposed to a ‘spaghetti’ pasta. I would LOVE to have this, as this is the thickness of the ‘pasta’ my family and I prefer (I can give my sister my spaghetti one!). Which spiralizer on your website produced these thinner ‘noodles’, and will it work for the previously mentioned favorite recipe?

  • Sharlene says:

    Maria, Can you please tell us the advantages and disadvantages of almond flour? And also compare almond flour vs. coconut flour in keto healing/lifestyle? Thanks! P.S. I love your books!

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Well I only use nut flours on special occasions such as birthdays. Just as you wouldn’t eat real cake daily we don’t eat cake or muffin things often.

  • Dynamite post!!! TY! Am sharing this on my page and in my groups!

    Thanks for all you and Craig do!!!

    Sooze

  • Trina says:

    Great post! Very interesting. Completely off that topic, what is that in your collander? It looks like spiral zuchini, but it is so thin and looks delicious!

  • Trina says:

    Thank you so much!

  • Kelly Mac says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you. We appreciate you!!!

  • Tracy says:

    Hi Maria
    You are an inspiration. I am finding out first hand how much work goes into creating the perfect recipe. I am working on my menu for my restaurant and I have never tasted so much food before. I am walking, sleeping and dreaming food! My kitchen is like a chemistry lab lol

  • Lisa says:

    I bought The Ketogenic Cookbook! I love cookbooks and read them like novels. This one did not disappoint! The recipes I’ve tried have come out beautifully, I can’t wait to try more!

  • Mia McNamee says:

    OK, can just say WOW?? I just received my beautiful clean (I’m sure soon to be dirty) copy of the Ketogenic cookbook. WOW! It is really BEAUTIFUL!! and the recipes look wonderful! I want to make the compound butters for christmas presents! So many gorgeous photos! beautiful typography! I’ll get right on and right a review on Amazon!

  • Terri says:

    I LOVE my Maria cookbooks! Use them all the time. I buy them for my family as gifts too. Thank you so, so much for writing them Maria and Craig. It’s good to know what all goes into it. Makes me appreciate you even more. As much as I use recipes from the internet, my favorite is still a hard copy of a beautiful cookbook. Makes me happy!

  • Jennifer O'Riordan says:

    I discovered you when I bought the first Low Carbing Among Friends cookbook. Your recipes were so good that I checked out your website and have been a loyal follower ever since. I buy every cookbook you write, Maria. Like others who’ve posted here, I like having an actual paper and ink book to look through for recipes and ideas. I want you to know how much I enjoy your beautiful photographs, too. They really make the cookbooks a pleasure to use. I already spend way too much time at the computer, so having real books is important to me. I hope you never stop developing your delicious recipes. I use them all the time. You are my primary source of low carb gluten free recipes. Thank you for all your hard work.

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  • thekagans says:

    I am a carb-loving skinny fat person with slightly elevated blood presure, sometimes smoker, wine lover who’s epileptic. My husband on the other hand has been working out thinking he’s ketogenic but wondering why he doesn’t feel his best. Through your blog we’ve learned that he’s most-likely OD’g on protein. Together we enter the ketogenic lifestyle and will use your ketogenic cookbook to get there! It arrives on Tuesday and we are sooo excited.

  • Cynthia says:

    I feel a little guilty, I remembered thinking to mention the table background was a bit repetitive, but your food always looked so good!
    Also, if I lived near you, my thank you gift for all you effort & time would be a cute plate or cup set – I’ve had food blogger friends, and that’s always their favorite gift!

  • Shirley says:

    Thanks for all you do Maria. I will always support your hard work.

  • Maria, you are incredible. I am an author, and one who strives to support fellow creative in all ways. I have been pondering the idea of a cook book for a while, and now that we have a garden I am eager to do one. I found you without even looking just scrolling pinterest. I will be back to this post more than once, and when I can, which should be soon I want to share this feature on my site, Literary Karma. You are fantastic. Thank you for being you.